U.S. public high school students are graduating at the highest rate since 1976.
A new federal report showed 3.1 million high school students received their diplomas in spring 2010, with 78.2 percent finishing in four years, the highest since a 75 percent rate in 1976, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the increasing graduation rate could be because of the struggling economy and competitive job market, the Associated Press reports.
"If you drop out of high school, how many good jobs are there out there for you? None," Duncan said. "When I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, it wasn't great, but I had lots of friends who dropped out, and they could go work in the stockyards or steel mills, and they could buy a home, support a family, do OK."
The national dropout rate was about 3 percent, a decline from 4.1 percent in 2009. White and Asian and Pacific Islander students had 2 percent dropout rates. Hispanic students had a 5 percent dropout rate. African Americans had a 6 percent dropout rate. American Indians and Alaska Natives were at 7 percent, the AP reported.
"The trends are hopeful but our high school dropout rate is still unsustainably high and it's untenable in many of our African-American and Latino communities," Duncan said. "We have a long way to go here."
Via the Associated Press